The Beer Can

by Kent Heaton

It was lying on the side of the road on the corner to my house. A single beer can discarded as a piece of trash by a person who had used its contents to fill a pleasure and then thrown out the window. I have seen hundreds of discarded cans and this one was no different with the exception of what it represented at that moment. The appeal of its contents had caused a person to purchase it and then consume the momentary feeling of pleasure. When the can was emptied, it had no use and was carelessly thrown out for someone else to pick up. It was empty. It had no use. It had lost its appeal. It was but for a moment. It was worthless.

Man has always sought for the momentary pleasures to fill his void. Looking for the appeal of alcohol man seeks out these cans of vipers poison and drinks his fill and while finding a sense of satisfaction for the moment realizes that it is only for a moment. His life is like the can he threw away - emptied, rejected, little use, shallow and unfulfilled. Lives have been destroyed because of intoxicating drink. Families are torn apart daily by its presence in the home. Young people live with consequences of their actions through the use of alcohol for the rest of their lives. As Herman Melville wrote in "Moby Dick," it is truly a "demon."

The wise man wrote in Proverbs 23:29-35:

"Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying, 'They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?'"

People of God have been shown by the Lord that alcohol has no value in their lives and no purpose. The great tragedy of its use is the end result - like a discarded can on the side of the road.

The appeal of momentary pleasure has driven many to the basement of alcohol's deceit. There is no value in following a life of drunkenness or even flirting with the dangers of drinking as many do in what they refer to as "social drinking." That makes as much sense as "social fornication." The appeal of the Lord is for His people to be "obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy'" (I Peter 1:14-16). Peter quotes from Leviticus 11:44 where the appeal of God to the people is for them to "sanctify" themselves before Him. One cannot sanctify themselves with a beer in hand.

Someone will pick the beer can up and throw it away. It will be left to families to pick up the pieces of shattered lives. Many who have found themselves in the slavery of alcohol will find their lives thrown on the side of the road as nothing more than an empty life. Christ has the answer and it is found in His love, His mercy, His forgiveness and His strength to overcome. He is the way out of sin, He is the only truth one can find about sin and He is the only one who can give life to empty lives (John 14:6). His path leads to the Father and to salvation. Don't throw your life away. Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).